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Ouachita Trail, Talimena State Park

Here's a lush and hilly Arkansas oasis snuggled in an area known for being flat and dry.

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The Ouachita National Recreation Trail (OT) is a lush, hilly oasis in a land much better known for being flat and dry. Talimena State Park marks the western starting point of the 233-mile OT, which transects Ouachita National Forest and mountains, ending just northeast of Little Rock, AR. Craft your own daytrip by climbing Winding Stair Mountain and following its ridgeline through boulder fields and thick forested valleys. Set up a shuttle or hike out-and-back as far as time allows.

drive time: Oklahoma City: 3 1/2 hours

guides:Ouachita Trail Guide, by Tim Ernst ($17). Ouachita National Recreation Trail Map ($4) is available from the national forest (see Contact).

contact: Ouachita National Forest, (501) 321-5202; www.fs.fed.us/oonf/ouachita.htm